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Emory Peak, Big Bend National Park

(4.8/5 based on 75 reviews on the web)
Emory Peak, located in Big Bend National Park, is the highest peak in the Chisos Mountains. and the highest in Brewster County. The peak is named for William H. Emory, the chief surveyor of the U.S. Boundary Survey team of 1852. From the Chisos Basin the peak appears to be a minor ridge, while the summit of Casa Grande, one mile closer, seems to be much taller. From the west, Emory Peak is clearly visible as a point slightly higher than most of the mountain range.The peak can be reached by a moderate hike on a well-marked path across steep rocky terrain with an elevation gain of approximately 2500ft. The Emory Peak Trail is about long. Once at the base there is a semi-technical rock scramble to navigate before reaching the summit. No gear is needed for this climb although hikers should take great care. High-desert flora and fauna including alligator juniper, pinyon pine, mule deer, sotol, and Texas madrone may be seen along the trail. There are signs warning of mountain lions and bears.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This was the most mentally challenging thing to do for me to get to the top. The last 1.8 miles is pretty rough terrain. Once you get to the top you have to actually hand and foot climb a huge rock to...  more »
  • Start early in the morning. We started at around 10 am and it became extremely hot since the trail is very strenuous and to complete the trail to the peak top and back took around 5-6 hours. Not a lot...  more »
  • We ascended on the Pinnacles/Emory Peak trail. Near the summit, it is a vertical rock climb to reach the actual peak and not recommended for children or those afraid of heights. While the elevation ch...  more »
Google
  • The best 360 panoramic views of the Chisos Mountains. We included Emory Peak in a South Rim day hike. We came up the Pinnacles Trail at approx 8am in Mid-July with no issues. It wasn't my first time taking this route to the Rim and it actually felt easier than previous excursions. This was, however, my 1st time up to Emory Peak. At the top of Pinnacles Trail we immediately switched over to the Emory Peak Trail and headed right up. Approx halfway up Emory, the July heat and increasing altitude made themselves known to me, and my pace dropped significantly. The final 1/4 of the trail was quite tiring, with the extremely loose stone trail joining my other tormentors - the heat & altitude. Upon reaching the base of the twin summits, we (my 72 y/o father) split up and climbed up to each of the peaks. I was wearing medium/light heavy duty hiking boots, which were a bit cumbersome for scrambling over the numerous boulders to the peak. We spent over 45 minutes at the top before continuing on our hike to the South Rim. The trip back down Emory Peak Trail was no easier than the trip up. The Emory Peak round trip is listed at 2 miles, but it felt a lot, lot longer than that! (to be fair, it's not like I'm getting any younger). It was a long, hot day on the trail to the South Rim and we didn't make it back to the Basin until approx 6:30pm. We were well prepared and equipped, however, if I had to do it all again, I'd probably reconsider Emory Peak's inclusion in a South Rim day hike in the middle of July. I felt the effects of Emory Peak Trail for the remainder of my day - I was definitely fatigued by the time I returned to the Basin. I wouldn't recommend attempting a Emory/South Rim day hike in July. The heat makes every additional mile seem much longer than it really is. That being said, doing Pinnacles up & down/Emory Peak is a very doable summer day hike that I wouldn't hesitate doing again, if given the opportunity. Some simple advice: Just make sure you're in shape, well equipped and carrying at least 3-4 gallons of water. A good hat, sun screen, sun glasses, and dry-wick clothing are essential. I love Big Bend.
  • Great sense of accomplishment by getting to the top. Tough climb, but the views are amazing.
  • 3rd tallest peak in Texas. watch out for the wildlife.